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Developing an Evaluation Format for Country Portfolio Evaluations (CPEs)

The objective is to develop and pilot a format for evaluating the engagement of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in partner countries. Country portfolio evaluations are to be conducted in future on a regular basis to address the existing evidence gap in bilateral development cooperation, and to help improve accountability and steering and promote institutional learning.

A significant portion of German development cooperation (DC) takes the form of bilateral cooperation. There are currently 65 partner countries. The BMZ is responsible for the strategic, policy-based management of these efforts. Information and evidence on just how effective measures are on the ground and where needs for strategic action exist are essential to enabling suitable planning, steering and review of such cooperation.

By contrast, the information currently available is inadequate to adequately assess the bilateral DC portfolio. Various measures are currently aimed at addressing this evidence gap. In future, country portfolio evaluations (CPEs) will aim to serve in this context as an important instrument for generating evidence to facilitate strategic decision-making and reflection processes.

DEval is set to develop a CPE format taking into account the existing experience gained for instance from performing country portfolio reviews. Piloting is to take place in Peru. 


The system for evaluating German bilateral development cooperation has undergone multiple reviews in past years. One important conclusion of the reports by Germany's Bundesrechnungshof (the Federal Court of Audit), the Peer Review of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and by DEval on the impact orientation and evaluability of DC programmes is that evidence is lacking – from the programme level upward. The shortage of strategically relevant insights, for example on the effectiveness of bilateral DC in partner countries, limits the BMZ's management capacity.

The BMZ identified this problem a number of years ago, and ascribed particular strategic importance to analyses at country level in the evaluation guidelines adopted in 2021.

DEval is now developing and piloting a format for country portfolio evaluations that considers the experience gained to date. 


The objective of the evaluation is to develop and initially test a format for country portfolio evaluations that can be standardised as far as possible. The regular implementation of CPEs is expected to systematically provide important evidence in future for bilateral DC work.


The object of the evaluation is the BMZ-financed portfolio in a partner country. To examine the portfolio and answer the evaluation questions, a theory-based approach is applied in combination with quantitative and qualitative methods for collecting and evaluating data (i.e. a mix of methodologies).

In general, the evaluation format to be developed will be geared to examining and assessing the six evaluation criteria of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Methods and instruments from country portfolio reviews (CPRs) are used in accordance with the procedural guidelines with regard to the evaluation of the relevance and coherence criterion.




Portrait von Kirsten Vorwerk
© DEval

Kirsten Vorwerk

Evaluator - Team Leader

Phone: +49 (0)228 336907-971


Portrait von Dr. Stefan Leiderer
© DEval

Dr Stefan Leiderer

Head of Department: Governance, Bi and Multilateral Development Cooperation

Phone: +49 (0)228 336907-940


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